Still horsing around

Down the sidebar is a section called “Pony tales,” which contains links to the stories I’ve written — one series of 3.something (the fourth is unfinished) and two standalones — in the universe of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Word count is somewhere around 70,000.

Fimfiction, the repository of stories of this ilk, counts a “view” when someone reads the most widely read chapter in a story. Usually — not always — it’s the first chapter, for the sensible reason that most readers start on Chapter 1 and are most likely to lose interest before ever getting to Chapter 2. Second Act, weirdly, seems to have more views on Chapter 3, presumably because that chapter provides a marginally believable scenario for transforming a fairly ordinary human to an equally ordinary earth pony. And I’m fond of this deadpan expository paragraph:

From the bog at the south end of the Everfree, through the near side of Ponyville, to the caverns under Canterlot Mountain, runs a single ley line, a channel for the transmission of magic. Some believe Star Swirl the Bearded himself, finding a resonance at a constant frequency in those caverns, followed it on hoof all the way across the forest, seeking its source. Others, more skeptical, suggest he foisted off the job on Clover the Clever. One assignment given to second-year students in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns is to calculate the exact frequency of that resonance. They are not told, of course, that the number denoting that frequency is an irrational number, the decimal places stretching out to infinity. Focusing mechanisms generally round it off to 1.7 million cycles per second, which provides 99.8 percent accuracy.

Why “cycles per second”? Heinrich Hertz does not exist in this universe. I have to work around a lot of handy idioms, including, well, “handy.”

Anyway, some time this week I got my ten-thousandth view. This is about 9900 more than I ever figured on getting.

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Want with a capital W

And not entirely out of reach, either:

Giant Robotic Twilight Sparkle

EqD’s Sethisto has the scoop:

MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE MY MAGICAL PRINCESS TWILIGHT SPARKLE Figure

(Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $129.99/Available: Fall 2017)

Discover the magic of friendship with the interactive MY MAGICAL PRINCESS TWILIGHT SPARKLE figure, a pony with Pegasus wings and a unicorn horn that lights up! While interacting with her, she can move her head and hoof, say 90+ phrases, and light up her horn. Fans can press the star button on her hoof to hear her talk about spells, tales of friendship, stories or songs. She has poseable legs so kids can help her sit or stand and has moving wings. Princess Twilight Sparkle also has a beautiful mane and tail and a tiara to complete her look. Requires 4 C batteries, not included. Available at most major retailers and on HasbroToyShop.com.

My current Twilight simulacrum says maybe six things and cost — well, never you mind what she cost.

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So it’s come to this

Equestria Daily has commissioned an advertisement on YouTube:

After all, not every pony fan is aware of their existence, or so they tell us. As Sethisto ruefully says:

The very design of EQD has always been essentially suicidal. Unlike other sites that will upload people’s content themselves, we typically embed a preview. Our comic and video posts are a good example. We embed and send you away to go sub or follow on the creators page. This helps them build up a following that incentivizes them to make more, but there is always a bit of attrition when it comes to people returning to us.

Me, I’m just surprised they aren’t pushing Desu Daily harder.

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What the hay?

Somehow this seems disquieting:

A Dutch restaurant is now serving up some stallion with its scallions.

The offbeat food truck Keuken van het Ongewenst Dier, which translates to “The Unwanted Animal Kitchen,” now supplies its “My Little Pony Burger” year round to Babbe Hengeveld, a chef who runs her own restaurant Food Guerilla, reports Vice Munchies.

Keuken van het Ongewenst Die has been serving the burger periodically for years and the patty itself is made from the meat of butchered, aging horses that have worked at a local amusement park, Slagharen.

Many years ago, there was a small classified ad in the Oklahoman asking for “50 Head of Poor Horses” every week. They didn’t say that said equines were going to end up in sandwiches.

For what it’s worth, the Pony Burger is not a big seller:

“They don’t sell well because people do feel bad about the idea of eating horse,” Hengeveld told Vice. For some, horses will always be seen as pets in the same way dogs are. Cows and chickens, in many Western cultures, aren’t kept as pets so they’re okay for food.

“Will trade,” said the anguished dad in another classified ad, “two young ewes with friends and personality for two anonymous lambs for the freezer.” Or something like that.

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Dinner without Drac

“Cool Ghoul” John Zacherle died Thursday at the age of 98:

Wearing ghoulish garb, Zacherle hosted horror movies on Philadelphia and New York television beginning in 1957. He likewise hosted the fondly recalled Newark-based dance show “Disc-O-Teen” in the late ’60s, and was a WNEW-FM disc jockey. From 1990 until 2015, Zacherle met fans old and new at the Chiller Theatre convention held in various New Jersey towns, chiefly Secaucus and Parsippany.

I refuse to believe that his death on 10/27 had anything to do with his having been a DJ on WNEW-FM, which historically was at 102.7.

Away from Jersey, Zacherle was probably best known for “Dinner with Drac,” ghastly limericks fit into a rock-and-roll background, a #6 pop hit in 1958:

Zacherle’s niece Bonnie, you may want to know, was the original designer of the My Little Pony line. Call it Generation 1.

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A wish was made

This is Angel Wings, the OC (original character) pony — you’ve already seen mine — of young Alexis Heule:

Angel Wings

You may also have noted that this same pony was a character in S06E24, “Top Bolt,” voiced by, yes, Alexis Heule. Sethisto explains:

When I first saw and heard Angel Wings in “Top Bolt”, I had the feeling that this was going to be the case. She is slightly different than your typical backgrounder, and fangirling over Dashie and Twilight is something a lot of us would probably want to do. Turns out there was a reason for it. A quick query over to Big Jim on Twitter revealed the real story… DHX has scooped up another kid from the Make-A-Wish foundation. Angel Wings was an actual little girl and fan of the show. And considering giant bows are the best thing ever, I can’t complain at all.

For “was,” read “is”: Angel Wings is still with us, for now.

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What happens in Las Pegasus

Further evidence that pony subsumes all:

Britney Spears in Las Vegas, and the pony equivalent in Las Pegasus

Even the timing — the MLP:FiM screen comes from “Viva Las Pegasus,” which first aired on 17 September — is exquisite.

(With thanks to Twilight Farkle.)

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A somewhat hairier version

It is common knowledge that I hang with the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fandom under the name of Dusty Sage, and about four years ago I used one of those cute online generators to produce a ponysona. That was good enough for a while; but I wearied of it, and when the noted artist LeekFish announced she was taking commissions, I asked her to knock out a sketch based on my original design but looking less artificial.

Which she did:

Dusty Sage as envisioned by LeekFish

I am quite pleased.

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This is acting

I wasn’t even close to imagining this:

I admit it, when I first heard about this casting, I imagined that the pony might look more like Maddie Ziegler. Apparently not.

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Quote of the week

Twilight Sparkle, in “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, season five, episode 13):

This is your dream! Anything you can do in your dreams, you can do now!

Now endorsed by the Republican National Committee, kinda sorta.

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To soar beyond the clouds

That which is Pony inspires us all, from whatever corner of the world as we know it.

The musician known to us as MelodicPony, who crafted this lovely bit of orchestration in 2013, has died, the victim of a stroke. He was twenty-seven.

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Seemingly authoritative

This was waiting for me the last time I signed into Quora:

You are now a Most Viewed Writer in Bronies

This despite obviously not having been on Quora in a couple of weeks.

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Serious pony

There has been a great deal of flapdoodle in recent years over the Hugo Awards, and the politicization of same. I can’t be sure if politics were involved in this nomination — I’m thinking a definite maybe — but just the same, there it is, up for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media / Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)

This Season Five opener was downright jaw-dropping, and if you don’t believe me, just ask Starlight Glimmer.

(The complete list of finalists.)

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A bond that cannot be undone

The Equestrian outpost in France has turned loose this song:

There’s not a quadruped to be heard anywhere in the video, which is fine with me. And if your French is even worse than mine, voici une traduction. Bonus points if you can determine/remember the source of this post title.

(Inevitably, via EQD.)

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They don’t look fast

Lee Ann — you remember Lee Ann, don’t you? — sent me a link to these, presumably because she thought I’d hurl:

MLP Rainbow Shoes

The source of this image assures us that they have “no clue where this picture came from.” And I wonder how old it is, since that’s clearly a Generation Three Rainbow Dash, who wasn’t particularly fast; for that matter, she wasn’t even a pegasus in G3.

And pulling the fabric over the back of the heel like that? What’s that all about?

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Not approved by Mayor Mare

Someone following Ted Cruz around before the Iowa caucuses filed this report:

I’ve just jumped from a hay bale to the upper rung of a bleacher seat — it’s the only way I can see Cruz, surrounded by fans, cameras and boom mics. Now I’m looking down, and the Texan with slicked-back hair, a rugged outdoorsman’s jacket and hiking shoes is talking about ponies. “What’s your favorite My Little Pony?” Cruz asks his tiny supporter, a little girl who is wearing a Rainbow Dash beanie. “Twilight,” she says.

“I have two daughters, and they love Twilight,” Cruz says, before adding, with a grin: “My favorite, though, is Applejack. I just think she’s funny.”

You know, sugarcube, that Rarity isn’t going to play so well in Des Moines, or however the buck they pronounce it.

I missed that piece when it first came out, but local political whiz Peter J. Rudy was happy to toss it in my general direction. Of course, I was ready:

Of course, this only extends so far: it wouldn’t matter, for instance, if Mike Huckabee not only could identify all three Dazzlings by name but also knew all the major plot points of My Little Dashie.

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The Derpsichorean muse

The first day of March, as usual, is Derpy Day; that Super Tuesday business just happened to fall on top of it this year. As you might expect, Equestria Daily has a bunch of Derpy-related items on display for the occasion, but the one I found myself coming back to was this little 15-cm sculpture by frozenpyro71:

Derpy sculpture by frozenpyro71

This project, says the artist, was fraught with frustration:

You have no idea how close I was to shelving this little nightmare of a project. I must have broken her wings in nearly a dozen places during sculpting/painting, they are so very fragile.

She has a wonderfully cartoon-y look here; somehow I see her as performing a dance step that nopony else would ever dare.

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Ol’ Bacon Hair is back

So I was thumbing through Tumblr pics on the general theme of “Happy and Vaguely Artistic Nudes,” and suddenly I was propelled through time and space to a body of water not far from Canterlot High.

I mean, is this, or is this not, Sunset Shimmer?

Cropped section of nude photo that looks vaguely like Sunset Shimmer of Equestria Girls

This is the full-jaybird version, probably not safe for work, and definitely not safe for work if you scroll down to the “More You Might Like” section.

I’m going to have to start watching for Sonata Dusk.

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WWPD?

Provoked by that gratuitous pony reference in that Jack Baruth article I cited earlier, I waited until about 500 comments had accumulated, and then threw in this observation:

A friend insists that Twilight Sparkle would drive a Volvo; I see her as more of a Honda Civic (and not a Civic Si, either) type.

Applejack, however, is destined for an F-150.

The response I got was nowhere near what I was expecting:

I can’t believe I’m asking this, but what year F-150?

To which I replied:

2010. I figure AJ would be unimpressed by all that aluminum stuff, so she’d want the previous generation — but she’s also not the sort to buy a new model in its first year, either.

This is, of course, my headcanon. Your mileage may vary.

The last all-steel F-150 generation was introduced in, yes, 2009.

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The pony you wanted to be

Let’s imagine, for example, that it was Rarity:

Rarity kimono dress by Darling Army

Also offered, once production resumes: Derpy, Celestia, Luna, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and perhaps Fluttershy, generally in the $150-175 range. My inner 9-year-old girl is in Full Squee.

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